I grew from a Graduate to Director with CGI – Now I get to help our members and our community.
In this careers article CGI member Davinia Maharaj shares her experiences with CGI, as well as a few tips on making progress in tech (or any other career) for those who are just starting out on their career journey.
As Director of Consulting Services at CGI UK, I am responsible for a team of more than 40 people. Aside from my technical responsibilities, a key part of my role is also to encourage and nurture my members’ progress and careers. This is something I really enjoy, as I love helping people grow in ways they might not have believed was possible.
When I first joined CGI as a graduate some years ago, I was able to try out many different things while working under consistent direction. It gave me a chance to see the types of roles that interested me most and I felt very supported.
As I’ve moved up the CGI career ladder, I have taken on more responsibility and accountability, which has continued to give me a real sense of accomplishment. The best part of my current role is that I have the freedom to make more choices in how to do my job, but I still have support and help when needed.
How I found my way to CGI
My first university degree was in Psychology. When I graduated, I’d learnt valuable skills, but I knew I didn’t want to embark on a psychology career. So I decided to try out something new and did a Master’s conversion course in IT.
This was incredibly challenging – I had no background in IT – but it was also incredibly rewarding learning software development for the first time.
After graduating from my Masters, I did a brief stint at a small software development company which I found quite restrictive. I then heard about CGI’s graduate programme and decided to apply because it offered such a wide range of roles and provided excellent support. It was a good move because CGI proved a much better fit for me.
I love the work I do
I have had so many opportunities and kinds of support at CGI. It is such a varied company, with many different types of work to be done. I felt supported by my managers from the beginning, and through the mentorship and coaching I received outside of my day jobs.
Every new role I’ve had has come with the necessary technical training provided. If you are interested in leadership roles, there is a wealth of leadership training, tools and processes provided. In addition to classroom-based training resources, there is also an extensive set of online training courses available to all CGI members.
In the Government Business Unit, we have the opportunity to work on some really complex and interesting projects. For example, I was responsible for successfully delivering a complex solution that transformed how one of our anchor government organisations worked. This project had high visibility, and looking back, I’m so proud of how talented teams came together to overcome challenges, deliver on time and achieve great success for the client.
And right now, I am responsible for delivering projects and services for a mission critical and complex system that helps protect the public. Working on something like this just reinforces to me that the work I am doing really matters to our communities.
Here’s my main advice, based on experience
If you want to progress in this field (or any field for that matter), don’t be afraid to push yourself. Always be willing to try things that are out of your comfort zone – you will surprise yourself!
I say this from experience because my own biggest challenge in growing my career has been having that belief in myself at times. I am so pleased I built up enough confidence at CGI to apply for my Director role a few years ago. I was incredibly proud of myself for being brave enough and today, I have made the role my own.
I would also advise finding some good mentors. I was lucky: I had a lot of mentoring and support throughout my career at CGI, with some of my managers probably believing in me more than I did at the time. If you allow the right people to guide you and encourage you, you open up so many more opportunities.
Keen to find out more? View their profile here.